If you are anything like me, parting with your things is difficult—especially clothes. I want to keep everything even if I haven’t worn it recently. So many things either have a certain value that I’m not prepared to cut ties with just yet. In an effort to clean out my closet and give some things back, I’ve adapted a few ideas I’ve gleaned throughout the years and applied it to ever growing pile of clothes. This is an on-going process that I’ll share (in an effort to ascertain how others deal with the emotional trauma of purging things).

First things first, I took a good hard look at how much stuff I have and what I can get rid of without much thought. Some items (thankfully) stood out to me as ones that I could easily put into a donate pile or a pitch pile. Then I had some shirts, sweaters, and bottoms that were way too small. These items were too small for even the “once I go back to the gym they’ll fit again” thinking, so I happily donated those things. There were items that had moth holes or snags that could easily be pitched.

The second step in my process was to identify all of my formal clothes or out of season items and put them into my self storage pile. Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury to keep everything I have in my house and I refuse to put my clothes in a garage or attic. I like to think of clothes as an investment and putting my investment into a climate-controlled storage unit makes me feel like my items are fully being taken care of properly.  I don’t want to spend money on dry cleaning because my clothes have gotten that musty smell from the changes in temperature. Finding a cheap storage unit to keep my things neatly organized and safe is probably my favorite part of the process. Not because I’m partial to the storage industry, but because I like the idea of keeping my pretty things safe.

Lastly, I painstakingly went through and organized all of my hanging clothes by color.  In doing so, I not only have a user-friendly closet, but I was able to look at what I have closely and see how much stuff I haven’t worn recently. For the things I haven’t worn in a long time or don’t wear regularly (like my sweatshirts and favorite pieces), I turned the hanger BACKWARDS. As I happily wear those things on the backwards hangers, I turn the hanger around to normal so I can get a real visual about what I wear and don’t wear. This way, at the end of the winter when I got to change out my seasonal things, I can see what I can donate because it is just taking up space.

Yes, it is bothering me to no end to see the coat hangers not in a uniform fashion, but it’s helpful. Even when turning some stuff around, I already had a gut feeling that those things would never get turned back. I have resolved to donate those clothes, still of sound quality, to those who could really get some use out of it.

This is what I’m doing to get more organized with my clothing. What are you doing? What tips and tricks work for you? I love to learn from others, because unlike other members of my family, I have attachment issues with everything and want to keep anything and everything. Even though I move every summer, I still can’t manage to get rid of everything that I know I should. Hopefully 2012 will be the year that I get my clothes organized, stored, and donated.